The different levels of self-esteem are classified as low-, middle-, and high self-esteem. This method of measuring self-esteem assigns specific characteristics to each level on this self-esteem scale. These personality traits are typically used as benchmarks for determining if a person could benefit from therapies designed to improve his feelings of diminished self worth. Much of the focus of this measurement scale is on low self-esteem and its many associated drawbacks, although many mental health professionals also use this scale to examine traits of someone whose high self-esteem level may have become excessive. The middle level on the self-esteem scale is comprised of mixed personality characteristics, some of which can be more positive than others.
Low levels of self-esteem carry distinctive behaviors and views that can be pervasive and detrimental to someone's overall quality of life. A sufferer of low self-esteem tends to believe he has little value as a person, and these feelings can often lead to social difficulties. Some of the more obvious traits of low self-esteem can include frequent self-blame even when not actually at fault, problems expressing emotions constructively, and expectations of the worst possible outcomes for most situations. Chronically low self-esteem can also be tied to other health problems, such as disordered eating, depression, and generalized anxiety.
Inconsistency is often a defining trait of someone who falls within the middle level of self esteem. He may feel competent in one type of situation and worthless in another. Middle levels of self-esteem can sometimes lead to increases in unpredictable behavior during times of heightened stress, as someone with middle self-esteem is often more likely to allow strong emotions to override his better judgment. A person at this level may think things through carefully before acting in one instance and then may make an unwise, impulsive decision in the next instance.
High levels of self-esteem are frequently seen as ideal goals for anyone seeking to improve his self-image. A person with high self-esteem tends to learn from past failures without dwelling on them, to connect well with others, and to confidently believe in his own opinions. A healthy level of self-esteem can help significantly in creating a positive outlook on life, although measured self-esteem can sometimes become too high in certain individuals. This excess level can lead to other types of negative traits such as unrealistic senses of entitlement.